Arguably an artist’s ideal studio is his mind, since within that quadrangle the first glimpses of future work emerge, take shape and are finalized. As all art is based upon ideas, so in a sense all artists are conceptual artists. Yet a creative person needs to reflect upon his own creation in a space that is separate and beyond his personality.
In that way, the artist’s studio is an extension of his- or herself as well as a space that serves to mirror, thus materialize his or her thoughts, imaginations, feelings and emotions. In spite of their diverse practices through different periods and regions, artists have been working in their studios, even though the nature, size and structure of these places have gone through enormous changes. For some a tiny space, a corner of a room, a desk in the office, a computer or a telephone serves the purpose of art making, while others need a huge area and large set up in order to create their art pieces.
It would be interesting to explore how architectural spaces have participated or effected the making of art works. How the change of studio altered the imagery, material, technique and concepts of an artist. Or why the studio appears as an integral part of imagery in works of many major artists, from Courbet to Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso till our present times. In the tradition of Indian miniature painting, the artist’s studio – or Karkhana, the workshop (like the Renaissance workshops) is depicted too.
Perhaps all these are/were attempts in reflecting upon self and the activities associated with the personality and profession of an artist, and can be understood as visual (points of) views of various artists on their creative practices, believes and positions. The current issue of ArtNow Pakistan is focusing on that aspect, by incorporating a section on the artist’s studio, which has been explored and examined by our contributors.
Some of these authors are practicing artists also, so in their essays they present the view from both sides, bringing in a maker’s approach as well as incorporating a critic’s insight. These essays are personal documents on how the artist’s studio has been a pivotal place for meeting internal and external currents. How this turns into a point of synthesis and an occasion for creative pursuits is a theme supported by the photo essays of Nadia Khawaja too. The artist/photographer has captured the essence of these places that belong to a number of artists. And in her search she has not only recorded physical spaces, but tried to portray the person who has been working in that surrounding. Thus each image is distinct, different and delicate like each man or woman with an independent identity.
In the current issues our regular contributors have reviewed exhibitions at different galleries. Galleries in a sense serve to link the artist’s studio to his/her audience – in the same way as do words on art – and ArtNow aims to bridge the gap between secretiveness of studio and the open vision of a viewer.